By Tina Comeau
It didn’t come as much of a surprise when, as a kid, Allie Berry became interested in the sport of basketball. After all, it was kind of a family tradition.
“Basketball started out to be a big family thing, but I kept with it because I found that it was something that I loved,” she says.
Berry has experienced a lot of success in the sport, which she’ll continue to play during her upcoming Grade 12 year at the Yarmouth high school. But while she’s taken a break from the classroom over the summer, she hasn’t taken a break from the court.
For the past three months Berry has been travelling to and from Halifax to practise and compete with the Nova Scotia U17 women’s basketball team.
Earlier this month the team played in the women’s U17 national championships in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Berry was the starting centre on the team, which brought home the silver medal.
She led her team in shooting percentage with 53.1 per cent, placing her third in the tournament amongst all teams. She was also the leading rebounder for the Nova Scotia team and the fourth leading rebounder in the national tournament.
To make it onto the team Berry had to go through five tryouts.
“You’d go to one and they would cut a few,” she says. “And then you just kept going to tryouts and they would cut a few until they finally got to the final 12.”
Every weekend for three months it was trips back and forth for practice, and when she wasn’t practising in Halifax she was practising here at home and also practising with a club team called Yarmouth Heat. Sometimes it meant she was on the court six days of the week.
She says all of the hard work and effort of the past few months has been worth it, though, especially when it came to playing on the provincial team.
“The experience was really awesome. You got to play against some really good basketball players from all across Canada,” she says. “The girls were way more experienced than you would see just at the high school level so it was a really big step up.”
The Nova Scotia team had a strong showing at nationals. On Aug. 6 they played Ontario in a close match, with Ontario coming out on top 64-57. On Aug. 7 they defeated Quebec 61-56. The team’s next game was against Saskatchewan, which Nova Scotia needed to win to move into the semifinals. Team Nova Scotia won that game 72-67.
On Aug. 10 the Nova Scotia squad played British Columbia to see who would advance to the gold-medal game. Nova Scotia won by a score of 65-52.
In the championship game they played Ontario again, with Ontario winning the goal medal by beating Nova Scotia 66-48.
With the nationals behind her, Berry is now anxious to play basketball in the new gymnasium at the new high school that will be opening in Yarmouth. But again, she’s got something to keep her busy until that happens. The basketball club she’s playing with locally practises twice a week and is preparing for an upcoming tournament.